The Great Darkness

Written by Jim Kelly
Review by Mike Ashworth

1939 Cambridge, England. It is the first night of the blackout – The Great Darkness, in what is still the Phoney War. Detective Inspector Eden Brooke, a wounded hero of the Great War, takes his nightly dip in the River Cam. Under the cover of darkness, he sees and hears soldiers. What has brought them out in the middle of the night? In the morning a corpse is revealed on the riverside torn apart with unspeakable force. Brooks investigates, with the help of his “nighthawks” – people like him who prefer to live and work in the darkness. It is not long before a second body appears. Are the crimes linked, or just random victims in a war?

Cambridge forms an effective backdrop to a strong story of murder, racketeering and military skulduggery. Inspector Brooke is well-drawn: sensitive and yet dogged. His experiences in the Great War force him to operate in a twilight world of the evening/night. With a strong, effective plot and characters, this is crime fiction from a CWA Dagger in the Library author. If you like crime fiction, this is for you.